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Sandy Springs vies again for Gwinnett Tech
by Noreen Lewis Cochran
June 21, 2012 03:02 PM | 1363 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By July 1, the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce will deliver a proposal to the Lawrenceville-based Gwinnett Technical College to establish the school’s second metro Atlanta campus, chair Rusty Paul told the Sandy Springs City Council at its work session Tuesday at City Hall.

Paul, a former District 3 city councilman, discussed the school’s request for proposals, updated after a 2011 effort ended when Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the issuing of bonds to cover design costs.

The city council previously vied in January 2011 to win the campus by submitting a proposal offering a site near a MARTA station plus $5 million in earnest money, to be split between the city and the business community.

Taxpayers at the time protested added traffic on Peachtree Dunwoody Road and the use of public funds, packing a four-hour meeting to register their complaints.

Paul said the new proposal is mindful of traffic issues and will concentrate on certain commercial areas.

“We’re not trying to bring 12,000 students down Roswell Road,” he said. “We want to avoid neighborhood areas.”

Earnest money, listed in the new RFP as a “commitment” of land, capital or combination of both, is being addressed, Paul said.

“We’re all aware of the $5 million request they’ve made as a gift,” he said. “We’re looking at financial scenarios that will avoid direct city outlays without specific, directed revenue coming back that would pay off any debt.”

Paul said the new proposal unites the chamber’s Health Care Collaborative program, an effort to attract research and development companies, with training a workforce to become nurses and medical technicians.

“We’re trying to set up a scenario to making us a medical research center with an emphasis on biomedical and biotech companies,” he said. “Health care is probably the fastest growing industry in the world right now. The demand is going to be infinite.”

Three sites, which were not disclosed, will be proposed.

“We’re trying not to discuss the exact locations,” Mayor Eva Galambos said. “I think that will drive up the price.”

One of the locations, she hinted, is on Abernathy Road at Ga. 400.

“It could not be more commercial than that,” Galambos said.

The school already has a presence in the city at the University of Phoenix location on Roberts Drive, while North Springs Charter High School has joint enrollment with the school.

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